German Science Institutions Sign Revolutionary Open-Access Deal


A consortium of German science institutions has signed a deal revolutionizing the way scientific research is communicated.

More than three years in the making, the deal signed between a group called Project DEAL, a group of more than 700 German scientific institutions including universities and research institutions, and the scientific publisher Wiley allows the public open, unpaid access to all publications.

In 2016 nearly 700 German research institutions banded together to create Project DEAL, an organization representing these institutions in their quest to better disseminate scholarly research. Now, three years later, Project DEAL has achieved that goal, signing an agreement with Wiley on January 15, 2019.

While in the past, readers of research publications have paid to view the content, the new contract establishes that for Germany’s 700 most prestigious research institutions, the research institutions themselves will now cover the payment on behalf of readers. Project DEAL will pay an annual fee to Wiley. In exchange Wiley will open access to all their publications back to 1997 for Project DEAL’s members and will publish future publications by Project DEAL’s members open-access to all readers.

Included in the deal are also two other initiatives. First, Wiley and Project DEAL will establish a development group focusing their attention on open science and author services, hoping to accelerate innovation in scientific communication and publishing. The partners will also create and host an annual symposium at which German researchers will come together to discuss the future of research communications.

“This is a revolutionary step on the way to general Open Access,” said Project DEAL’s chief negotiator Horst Hippler during the presentation of the contract with Wiley in Berlin.

“We are at the forefront of changing publication rules worldwide,” continued Hippler, who until recently was also President of the German Rectors’ Conference.